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Former President George W. Bush has managed to criticize Donald Trump and emerge as the savior of the Republican Party without ever even saying a word.
A front page story in the New York Times focuses on recent fundraising by the former president, who has stayed out of the political spotlight since leaving the White House eight years ago.
There are no direct quotes in the story from Bush about Trump, who ran against younger brother Jeb Bush. The Times reports that Bush has been headlining fundraisers for vulnerable Republicans, like Senators John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, whose seats may be in jeopardy because of Trump’s campaign for the White House.
The Times presented a story on how Bush is seeking to amend the damage created by Trump, without ever interviewing the former president, all “through the magic of journalism,” said Fox News analyst Howard Kurtz.
Through a view indirectly attributed to Bush, the Times said:
“Friends say that the former president is deeply bothered by Mr. Trump’s campaign message, especially his derogatory remarks about Muslims and immigrants. At the event with Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush stressed the importance of preserving the Republican-held Senate as a “check and balance” on the White House, suggesting that such a check was needed, whether the next president is Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.”
Kurtz, host of the Fox News show “MediaBuzz,” said there is another aspect of the story that deserves more attention. Trump ran not only against Jeb Bush, but against George W. Bush and his record.
Trump got more than 13 million Republican votes while breaking with “Bushisms” like a more tolerant approach to illegal immigration and the idea of privatizing Social Security, Kurtz noted. Trump also criticized Bush for invading Iraq and has said that 9/11 occurred on the former president’s watch.
Voters have supported the presumptive GOP nominee and his brash style, a far departure from the Bush brand of politics which Trump has repeatedly criticized.
Though neither Bush nor his father or brother will be attending the Republican National Convention, he still stays above the political fray by abstaining from making direct attacks against Trump.
“He doesn’t want to sully his image as being above politics,” Kurtz said about Bush, noting the “very surgical” way he targeted Trump. But, Kurtz added, this “undersells a little bit what Trump accomplished in getting enough Republicans to reject the Bush brand of politics and of conservatism” and become the GOP nominee.
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